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Manatt Phelps to Acquire Steefel
Hoping to increase its presence in San Francisco, Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has unveiled plans to acquire the real estate finance and business litigation firm Steefel, Levitt & Weiss. This is only the first move in the firm's overall strategy to increase its national presence. It also has plans to open more offices in Southern California, New York, and Washington, DC. The attorneys from Manatt's San Francisco office, which opened in August, will move into Steefel's headquarters. Christopher Wagner, the de facto managing partner of Manatt's San Francisco office, said, "The combination will allow us a bigger platform to recruit from. It's more difficult to recruit with an office of 10 attorneys, so by getting 40 attorneys, suddenly we are a sizable presence in San Francisco." The merger should be completed by February 1.
Bankruptcy Co-Head Leaves Weil for Dewey & LeBoeuf
The recent co-head of Weil, Gotshal, & Manges's bankruptcy practice, Martin J. Bienenstock, has left the firm for Dewey & LeBoeuf, where he will serve as the head of the newly created business solutions and governance group. Bienenstock, who will also serve on the firm's executive committee, is considered the firm's first major recruit since the merger between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. Attorneys Timothy Q. Karcher and Judy Z. Liu will also be leaving Weil to join Dewey.
Dallas Office of Jenner & Block Closed
Chicago-based Jenner & Block has announced that it will close its Dallas office early next year. While the small four-attorney outlet has generated little growth since it was opened in 2000, the firm's managing partner, Gary Gallopoulos, has denied that this caused the office's closure. He stated that it simply was more logical to have the attorneys who work on government contracts based out of Washington, DC. Consequently, two of the firm's attorneys will be transferring to the DC office; the other two will be leaving the firm entirely. Gallopoulos explained, "The only reason the office opened was that we acquired a very important government contracts practice which had one key partner in Texas."